After another of the Blatchford Bottom settlements, this one with a suspicious bullock keeping a wary eye on me, I start to climb again, this time up to Stalldown. As I reach the crest, the tips of the northernmost upright stones of the row come into view. This is the tallest of Dartmoor's stone rows and the four uprights at the northern end are the tallest stones in the row. They are all about 2-2.5 metres tall and very shapely, leaning in slightly different directions, which makes for a very photogenic site. There are a couple more large stones lying fallen to the north, which may well have been part of the row – the northernmost is a large slab. What a lovely setting of stones this is, who could ask for more?
Following the row roughly south as it heads off the top of the hill, the stones become markedly smaller after those first few, and there is the additional treat of a small cairn- or kerb-circle adjacent to the row. Towards the south end of the row is a recumbent slab, which would have been much taller than its neighbours if erected and the final upright is a rounded, boulderish stone – it may be that the row continued beyond this point, but no uprights remain. Plymouth Sound emerges from the gloom to the southwest to show I'm heading in the right direction.
Having visited this area about three years ago..or was it four? I decided it was time to return. Last time, after walking up the east side of the Erme, I had decided against the climb up onto Stalldown whilst heading back down the west side and so missed this mighty stone row.
This time I chose a route starting on the west side of the Erme, crossing Harford Bridge and taking a path along the river that soon petered out into several animal tracks and nothing else. Going 'off piste' I found my way to Tristis Rock then picking up the stone row directly behind it crossed the moorland northwards to Stalldown.
It is this route that Crossing suggests in his Guide To Dartmoor, Excursion 33 but I have to say the route from Torr along the waterworks track may be easier!
Reaching Stalldown you can not see the row and must head off in a northwesterly direction uphill. You find yourself on a spur of the main ridge and at last get a view of the row ahead and over to the left. It is still a bit of a walk across boggy moorland to reach the southern end of the row, but once there all that remains is to follow its majestic stones to the summit and beyond.
There are a number of small low cairns to be seen along the rows length, but the main one, which gives the hill its name is across the plateau to the east.
We parked at New Waste (SX 625 611), having come off the A38 at Lee Mill, followed the signs to Cornwood, turned right out of Cornwood, left then right out of Torr and followed the road to the very end. You can park on the moor side of the gate where the road ends.
Then on foot, follow the concrete track up to the water treatment works, turn right to circle the water works, cross the brook and turn uphill to find a stile over a dry stone wall to give you access to the moor. The stone row is visible on the skyline.
I'm a little tentative in calling this Stalldown as it's not named on my maps but it's a stone row and it's on Stalldown so I guess you can see where I'm coming from.
I spotted the tallest stones when I was on the other side of the river following Butterdon Stone Row and yes, I did have to wade through a Dartmoor river in March to get to it. However, it was worth it.
This is another stunner! There must be 50 or 60 stones, many of them taller than me and running almost due North South.